The General vs the Admiral:
Could Ukraine’s armed forces have prevailed in Crimea?
Could Ukraine’s armed forces have prevailed in Crimea in 2014?
The Obolon District Court in Kyiv is hearing a case in which former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych is being accused of treason and of aiding and abetting the start of war. Most recently, Admiral Ihor Teniukh, who was Minister of Defense in February and March 2014, and Verkhovna Rada Representative to Control the Activities of the Defense Ministry Gen. Volodymyr Zamana, who was Chief of General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces prior to February 19, 2014, testified before the court.
Adm. Teniukh stated that on February 28, 2014, during a meeting of the National Security Council chaired by acting President Oleksandr Turchynov he had announced: “Today we can bring together a military force of over 5,000 servicemen from across the country who are capable of carrying out military duties. We can toss them at Crimea but this won’t resolve the problem in the peninsula. We will simply station them there... And what about the thousands of kilometers of borders and Russia’s preparations for an invasion? If they enter Chernihiv Oblast in the morning, they’ll be in Kyiv by evening!”
Later, during his speech in the Verkhovna Rada, in his comments to the press, and during the recent court hearing, Adm. Teniukh consistently maintained this position.
Meanwhile, Gen. Zamana categorically objected to Teniukh’s position both during service meetings, and in comments and interviews that he gave to the press. At the Feb. 8, 2018, court hearing, the court transcript shows that he testified in Russian: “We had serious problems with providing, equipping and training the Armed Forces. Basically, they were combat-ready. We had about 165,000 servicemen, of whom 90-100,000 were combatready, armed and equipped. These were our rapid-reaction forces. Another 30-35,000 were forces on alert and they needed to be properly equipped. Then there were our expanded forces: formations and military units that